FOR some time many have lamented a lack of competition in the heavyweight division for the robotic Klitschkos; there’s been a lot of talk about toppling Ukraine’s gruesome twosome but little action. A number of credible contenders have emerged over the past year or so, however, who may walk the walk – most vocal among those talking the talk being former Irish champion Tyson Fury.
The Manchester-born Irish Traveller was particularly noisy this week when questioned about the news that David Haye’s June 29 bout against Syria’s Manuel Charr has been cancelled after the Londoner picked up a hand injury.
This development immediately led to the improbable suggestion that Fury could replace Haye on the Manchester bill. ‘I’d take the fight no problem,’ said Fury, speaking the Fearless charity fight card in Belfast City Hall in aid of Oscar Knox, ‘but I wouldn’t be ready to fight in four weeks. I’ve been off drinking every day, partying, eating.’
The reason for his recent celebrations is, of course, his knockout victory over American Steve Cunningham, which announced Fury to the US in typically dramatic style after he had to climb off the canvas to claim the win.
The fact Fury was knocked down was put down by many, including Mail Box, to the absence of his trainer and uncle, Peter Fury, from his corner as he was unable to travel to the US due to visa issues – a theory he agrees with: ‘When I’m let loose off the leash, I am a mad psycho,’ he surmised.
Mad he may be, but there’s always a humorous charisma to Fury’s wild ramblings. Eventually, talk about Cunningham, a former IBF cruiserweight world champion, directed his acid tongue on to the topic of Haye.
‘Haye avoided Cunningham – when he was “unified” cruiserweight champ he never had the IBF title,’ claimed Fury. ‘Haye is a s***house and if I do fight him, I’m going to show you how much of a s***house he can be… I’d knock him out.
‘Haye was on Sky News saying “he won’t fight me” and all that, but any time, any place, anywhere. There’s not a man on earth I’m afraid of – never mind him, Big Toe.’
But Fury’s mind is on a world-title eliminator – most likely against undefeated Bulgarian Kubrat Pulev – which he hopes will lead to a shot against a Klitschko.
Already lined up for a massive $23million fight against unified champion Wladimir Klitschko is Russian Alexander Povetkin – if he can first get past Poland’s Andrzej Wawrzyk who he will meet tonight in Moscow [Note: Povetkin won this bout by TKO3]. While Fury doesn’t rate the Russian as world class, for all his bluster, the 24-year-old has a solid plan in place for earning his own date against Wladimir.
‘Klitschko is a good businessman – he doesn’t want to take no risks,’ says Fury. ‘He’ll only fight who he has to fight… so I’ve got to work my way to No 1 position and that’s what I’m halfway doing.’
*This column first appeared in the Irish Daily Mail (Friday, May 17); read Ciarán Gallagher’s Mail Box column every Friday in the Irish Daily Mail and follow on Twitter
Posted May 20th, 2013 in Features
By Patrick Doherty
Frampton vs Quigg
In boxing, as in driving, the L plate limits the mobility of the person in its possession. As soon as a fighter adds that first L to their record their options decrease significantly. Perhaps this is why negotiations are not currently underway to arrange a bout between Belfast’s Carl Frampton and Bury’s Scott Quigg, despite their mutual contender status within the competitive world super-bantamweight division.
Of course, a loss immediately affects the ranking of a fighter and obstructs their path to a world title fight in the immediate aftermath, but it also depends on the nature of the loss. Often, a fighter’s stock rises as a result of participating in a close and competitive fight. Matthew Macklin is a prime example of this, whilst on the other hand, Willie Casey’s career demonstrates the detrimental effect a loss can have on a fighter’s possibilities. But the latter was surely a case of poor match-making on behalf of the promoters and it would be difficult to make an argument that Frampton and Quigg are not ready for each other.
It can be assumed that neither Eddie Hearn nor Ricky Hatton are willing to pursue big names like Guillermo Rigondeaux or Nonito Donaire any time soon, so if neither fighter is challenging the remaining world champions Jonathan Romero or Victor Terrazas in their next fight, why not set up an unofficial eliminator. Both men surely fancy their chances against either of the two champions, and that in turn could pave the way for an exciting world title rematch.
All speculation of course. It might be foolish to criticise a promoter as successful as Eddie Hearn, and downright dangerous to challenge the wisdom of Ricky Hatton.
But if Frampton and Quigg were to happen tomorrow, who would emerge victorious?
Let’s look at Quigg (24-0-1 -17KOs), the current British Champion first.
In his last fight, Quigg brought an end to his domestic rivalry with Rendall Munroe in convincing fashion. His record is respectable. He has beaten anyone who’s anyone in his native Britain, his most notable wins coming against Jason Booth, Jamie Arthur and the aforementioned Munroe.
His best assets are his body punching and his left jab, which broke Munroe down in six rounds. He has knockout power too, with 17 of his 24 wins coming that way. He is however, there to be hit, as Munroe discovered in both of their contests. His head doesn’t move enough and he can be sent to the floor as Jamie Arthur also found out. At the same time, Quigg did show resilience in climbing back off the canvas so there are no aspersions being cast upon his punch resistance as of yet.
Carl Frampton (16-0-11KOs) the current European Champion, has undoubtedly been moved along at a faster pace, despite being a year older than Quigg, and arguably boasts the more impressive record. He beat former world champion Steve Molitor in convincing fashion, as well as simultaneously out-boxing and out slugging the hard hitting Kiko Martinez to claim the European Strap. His other notable win came against the then unbeaten Mexican, Raul Hirales.
Frampton has shown he is a versatile fighter. He boxed and moved well against in an excellent technical display against Hirales. Against Martinez he picked off his marauding opponent at distance and traded effectively up close when it was necessary. Frampton peppers opponents with his left jab whilst setting them up for a hard straight right hand. He often breaks down his opponents with consistent combinations but has also shown one punch knockout power in his last fight against Martinez.
But like Quigg, Frampton is not hard to hit. Having said that, a more convincing case can be made for his chin than for that of his counterpart.
Although both fighters are capable of cagey technical performances, this fight has the makings of an all out war with all the pride and bragging rights at stake. As both fighters lack somewhat in the defensive departments. I expect both men to land heavy shots early on. The first five or six rounds might be quite even, with judges having difficulty separating the fighters. But as the fight wears on, it is questionable whether Quigg possesses the ability to hurt Frampton with his excellent body punching in the same way he has hurt other opponents in the past.
This may well be the difference. Can Quigg withstand the pressure of Frampton in the Championship rounds?
To my mind, no. That’s why I see Frampton winning by KO in the final two or three rounds.
But as has already been said, neither fighter stands to lose much if they are to meet in the ring. A competitive fight would benefit both the winner and loser enormously and surely increase their marketability. An L on either man’s record will not affect their prospects as detrimentally as some might say. Conversely, it would probably attract more interest in their respective careers.
Posted May 5th, 2013 in Features
by Jack Magowan
Belfast Telegraph 22 October 1962
Belfast, on the morning of Saturday, 20 October, 1962, awoke to a fine autumn day, with the tantalising anticipation of a sporting extravaganza in the air. In Rome, the Second Vatican Council was getting underway and the Irish News, to the probable relief of its loyal and Catholic readership, was reporting that Italian detectives were ‘carefully monitoring’ the movements of the Rev. Ian Paisley in St. Peter’s Square, ‘in case he tried to disrupt proceedings.’ However, Armageddon was at hand as the world that very week stood theoretically on the verge of nuclear, life continued as normal in the city as final preparations were made at the King’s Hall for the clash of the two local Super Powers. From early morning the south Belfast arena was alive with familiar sounds as the final preparations were made and the start time drew ever closer. The noise of hammers and drills was interspersed with the testing of public address systems, while a plethora of officials, of varying importance, with obligatory clipboards, ran through the mandatory checks. On the previous evening, a full-scale rehearsal had taken place in the hall with hundreds of stewards, car-parking attendants and programmes sellers being put through their paces. For the first-time ever, the extensive car-parking facilities at the rear of the King’s Hall would be opened for a boxing bill as almost 1,000 cars were expected in the vicinity. It was a sure sign that the middle-classes had been captivated also by the prospect of the clash. Throughout Saturday, business would be brisk in the bookmaking shops of Belfast with the odds, though fluctuating, leaning slightly towards a Caldwell victory. The Falls Road man had been tipped also for victory that morning by Jack Magowan in the Belfast Telegraph, which, in falling in with the spirit of the day, had published a ‘sporting special’ for its readership. In the Irish News, however, ‘Left Lead’, its boxing correspondent, favoured Gilroy ‘the harder puncher’ to take the honours. The fight remained, however, a tantalising conundrum that was too close to call.
A mile from the King’s Hall, at Windsor Park, police were putting in place arrangements in anticipation of the arrival of 58,000 spectators for the soccer clash between Northern Ireland and England in the British Championship. Parking restrictions were imposed along a five-mile perimeter of the ground, while spectators were warned not to leave their transistor radios visible in their cars as thieves were expected to be out in force. By lunchtime, the thoroughfares around the ground were thronged with spectators eager to see if their local heroes could beat England at the Belfast venue for the first time since 1927. By kick-off time at three o’ clock, the Newsletter reported that the crowd was so immense that ‘spectators would have had difficulty in turning a sweet in their mouths.’ It was, alas, not to be for Northern Ireland, led by Danny Blancheflower, as England failed to read the proverbial script and triumphed by three goals to one.
As the football match concluded, crowds were already forming outside the King’s Hall with the traditional race for the best seats in the balcony the number one concern. At half-past-six in the evening, the doors opened and soon the hall began to stir with spectators creating the beginnings of a crescendo of noise that was due to peak three hours later. Both Caldwell and Gilroy were not arrive at the arena until at least 9 o’ clock as the final psychological and physical preparations were undertaken in the privacy of their own gyms. In the King’s Hall, a procession of supporting contests began to a strangely subdued and relative indifference: it seemed that everyone was saving their emotion for the fight. First into the ring were Sammy Cowan and Paddy Graham, in what was a clash of two Belfast veterans, which Cowan won as Graham, who was in the dying twilight of his career, retired in his corner at the end of the second round. This contest was followed two fights which saw international boxers take the honours over Belfast opponents. In the first, Boswell St. Louis, a talented journeyman from Trinidad, out-pointed Spike ‘I’ll fight anyone’ McCormick, while Ghana’s Dennis Adjei proved too fast and accurate for Peter Lavery. With less than an hour to go now until the main event, Alex O’ Neill provided some comfort for the Falls Road contingent with a neat victory over Danny Lee of Glasgow. While the final bout of the under-card saw Eddie Shaw, who would find fame as Barry McGuigan’s trainer, display his class as he easily disposed of Sheffield’s Neil Hawcroft. By now the arena was full and the chanting had begun. The King’s Hall braced itself.
The talking was over and the time had arrived; the spectators drew a collective breath as the moment of truth drew close. Through a pungent fog of thousands of Gallaher’s Blues, Park Drive and Players Navy Cut cigarettes, sixteen thousand sets of eyes peered towards the back of the arena trying to catch the first glimpse of either Freddie Gilroy of Johnny Caldwell. Eventually the lights dimmed and after a pregnant and prolonged moment a relentless roar embraced the arena as the figure of Caldwell, the challenger, was the first to be caught in the spotlight. All around the King’s Hall, thousands strained to see their hero, balancing precariously on top of their wooden seats. From the balcony, a wall of sound rolled over the hall as the occasion began to match the pre-fight hype. Along the narrow aisles, Caldwell’s entourage made slow but steady progress through the illuminated rugby scrum as thousands of cheers and whistles threatened to test the foundations of the building. For the supporters of Caldwell, this was theirhero, representing the Falls Road, coming home to prove a point, and his greatness. This was their chance to show their appreciation for the man who had taken a world title and fought so bravely against Eder Jofre earlier in the year. The crescendo of noise came to a climax as Caldwell reached the ringside and, after a momentary lull, the roar came back with vengeance as he climbed through the ropes. Johnny Caldwell danced confidently towards the centre of the ring to acknowledge his adoring fans. This was his moment, his time and his chance as he stood momentarily under the heat of the dazzling spotlights with his arm raised in acknowledgement. However, there was work to be done and after such a reception it was a case of composure and contemplation. The roars then into dissolved slowly into a raucous chant of ‘Johnny, Johnny, Johnny,’ as the man-of-the-moment threw a combination of shadow punches and made for his corner. The words of last-minute advice given to Caldwell by his seconds would be lost somewhat as the challenger sat in anticipation of the arrival of Freddie Gilroy.
Within moments, the champion’s entry was greeted with an equally vociferous reception as the spotlight fell on the Gilroy camp in the corner of the arena. Again a colossal noise engulfed the arena as the spotlight captured the Ardoyne man’s methodical progress. Gilroy was effectively on home territory. He had built up a significant following through his nine appearances at the south Belfast venue and had captured a majority of the neutrals in the hall. He was, after all, the British and Commonwealth champion and had gained many admirers for his boxing skill and courage. The pride of Ardoyne and north Belfast was at stake also and a truly epic clash was now merely minutes away. As the ring began to clear, referee Andy Smyth called the two protagonists to the centre of the ring to remind them of how he wished them to interpret the Marquis of Queensberry Rules. The fighters touched gloves and went back to their respective corners as again the crowd erupted. The moment had arrived: Gilroy glanced briefly towards the heavens; Caldwell blessed himself; the bell sounded.
The two boxers went at each other with gusto in the opening minute. The noise ebbed and flowed as each man tried to establish dominance. The exchanges were fierce with no quarter given. It became three minutes of total boxing in which Caldwell was described as a ‘restless gypsy’ trying desperately to expose Gilroy to his searching right hand and combinations. However, the champion was proving to be the proverbial immovable object and stood his ground catching Caldwell with a sweet left hook to the jaw that momentarily unbalanced the challenger. As Caldwell lost his composure the crowd rose as one, but he was made of sterner stuff and was soon back in his stride. The bell sounded and the boxers returned through the noise to their corners. It had exceeded everything that had been expected and Gilroy had shaded the round. The Belfast Telegraph’s Jack Magowan described the opening three minutes as ‘the best ever’ which reduced the crowd to ‘a state of gibbering, uncontrolled hysteria.’
The fight continued in the same vein and became even more frantic as courage and determination were displayed in abundance. In the second and third rounds, Gilroy’s body punches began to dictate matters. Time and time again he landed cleanly on Caldwell’s ribs with crippling blows; the challenger did not flinch, but the crowd could sense that he had been hurt. Gilroy was a clear leader by the sixth round, but then Caldwell began to get a second wind and out-boxed the champion to place the contest on an even keel. By the end of the seventh round, the contest was too close to call with the tantalising prospect remaining of a further eight rounds of all-out action in store. The real drama of the fight, however, was merely moments away as the eighth round was to prove to be fatal for Caldwell. Again, the two boxers began by thrashing away at each other in the middle of the ring. The fight had surpassed the description classic and it was now a battle to the bitter end. And then, from within the ring came the unmistakable and sickening, hollow sound of bone against bone. There had been a clash of heads and as the boxers broke from their clinch, it was evident that Caldwell had come off worse. Much worse. From under the challenger’s right eye, a trickle of blood was noticed by all in the arena and it soon became a torrent. Caldwell was on borrowed time. The tide had now turned most definitely in favour of Gilroy. Each punch to Caldwell’s cut would cut short the ability of the challenger to continue. As the bell sounded at the end of the round, it was in a state of panic that he returned to his corner.
For Caldwell, his ‘cuts’ man was supposed to be the best in the business. Danny Holland had been brought over from London to deal with such an eventuality and he battled frantically to stop the flow of blood as the official doctor look on anxiously. Around the arena, there was collective pessimism for Caldwell’s ability to continue. However, in the sixty seconds allocated to Holland, he applied serious amounts of adrenalin and Vaseline to Caldwell’s eye to address what he, and most likely Caldwell, knew was a hopeless cause. Bravely, Johnny Caldwell, who needed stitches, not Vaseline, in his wound, stood to face Gilroy in what was to be a do-or-die ninth round. The bell sounded; Gilroy could sense a victory while for Caldwell it was damage limitation. Gamely, the Falls Road man threw punch after punch to keep Gilroy at bay, but the champion had time on his side and waited his chance to connect with the scarlet cheekbone of Caldwell. Afterwards, Caldwell would say of the ninth round, ‘I was hitting him from memory as I could neither see nor breathe; my castle just crumbled beneath me.’ The cut had been opened again and was now pumping blood onto the challenger’s face, body, shorts and the white canvas of the ring. It was hopeless. The bell sounded for what would be the last time; Caldwell went back to his corner.
Within seconds, the fight was indeed over. Caldwell’s seconds and the doctor knew that the game was up. With a wave of his hand, referee Smyth signalled that Caldwell could not continue and thus began a mass celebration from the Ardoyne contingent, while the Falls Roads supporters of Caldwell stared in disbelief and then, after a pause, headed off into a chilly autumn night. The ring was now in pandemonium as family and supporters tried to get to their respective heroes. First over to Caldwell was Gilroy who threw his arms around his friend in sympathy. It had been an unsatisfactory ending to a classic fight. The two me posed for the cameras, but it was a false show of camaraderie. The fight, as well as opening up a serious cut in Caldwell’s eye, had driven a bitter gulf between the men that would never be bridged. A re-match was the obvious manner in which the rivalry would be resolved and promoter Jack Solomons at ringside puffed contentedly on his cigar as he contemplated such a prospect. Under the spotlights, a bruised and bloodied Johnny Caldwell was distraught, but Gilroy had retained his titles and he was not complaining at the manner of his victory. Eventually the ring was cleared and both contingents made their way to the dressing rooms at the back of the arena. Gilroy’s room was packed full of well-wishers and the sound of songs and cheers pierced painfully the walls of Caldwell’s room, twenty yards away. Muhammad Ali once said that ‘nobody knows what to say in a loser’s locker room,’ and that adage rang true that night for Johnny Caldwell. As he sat silently amid the muted tones of defeat, the bitter taste of tears mingled with dark congealing blood to add to the finality of the defeat. For Johnny Caldwell, it had been a bad night at the King’s Hall.
Posted May 5th, 2013 in Features
Posted April 25th, 2013 in Features
By David Mohan
RICKY HATTON has predicted that Ryan Burnett possesses the quality and work-ethic to make it to the summit of professional boxing as the 20-year-old prepares to make his long awaited professional debut in Liverpool next month.
Burnett, a gold medalist at the Youth Olympics back in 2010 as well as a World Championships silver medalist in the same year, signed professional forms to be managed and trained by ‘The Hitman’ early last year, but a failed brain scan prevented him from obtaining a boxing licence soon after.
However, ‘The Golden Boy’ continued to put in the hard yards in the gym with the former two-weight world champion and in February this year, he was given the all-clear by the British Boxing Board of Control, paving the way for his first fight in the paid ranks on May 24 at Liverpool’s Olympia.
“Ryan has shown real championship qualities,” said Hatton.
“When he got the news that he wasn’t going to get the licence, you would expect his head to drop and get really despondent, but he didn’t.
“In that time when we were waiting for the licence, Ryan could have got disheartened and put on body fat or given up, but he was in the gym with me every day learning and improving.
“It’s not been such a bad thing because he will have been training with me for 12 months by the time his professional debut comes in. What a professional debut it will now because he will be coming in like a little seasoned pro even though he hasn’t had a fight yet.”
Now cleared to box, Hatton says he has no qualms about sending his charge into battle and is confident there are no medical complications: “We did the right things and went down the right avenues because it’s not only important for Ryan but for me.
“If I’m going to stand in the corner with him, I need to know 100 per cent that he is healthy.
“I have to feel something with my fighters and there is a friendship. He knows that when he is in that corner that I am someone he can trust and I have his welfare at heart.”
Burnett was just 19-years-old when he decided to make the switch away from a glittering amateur career that saw him win 94 fights from a possible 98.
Following approaches from a number of suitors, the Belfast man decided that the chemistry between himself and fan-favourite Hatton was the best fit. Ricky says the feeling was mutual and it didn’t take him long to realise that he was dealing with something a bit special.
“It was funny because the first day he came down to the gym, he looked about 12 years of age, a real baby faced kid, but when I took him on the pads I thought: ‘Wow, he is good. What a talented young man this is’,” recalls the Manchester City fanatic.
“After 12 months of training him, he is ticking all the boxes. He has the ability but when the training gets hard, he digs in. He reminds me of myself back then because when things get hard, he always wants to do an extra round or two and I have to tell him to slow down and take his time.
“He has all the qualities to go right to the top. I don’t like putting pressure on young kids, but I would say that is he continues to do the right things then he is a certainty to be a world champion.”
World championship fights are for another day but having now been granted his boxing licence, Hatton says the plan is to keep his charge busy this year. Having been forced to spend 12 months in the gym, now is the time to expose the public to the talents of the ‘Golden Boy’.
“I would like five or six fights this year,” said Hatton of Burnett, who will initially campaign at bantamweight.
“He has ability so it won’t take him long to get to the top. I suppose in time we could take him to the welterweight or middleweight division but there is no rush for that.
“We want his preparations to be absolutely perfect but if you are good enough then you are good enough. We will just progress with each fight but he is a wonderful talent and a great kid to work with.”
Burnett has also been training under the watchful eye of Hatton’s full-time assistant, Mike Jackson, who has 12 years experience of moulding boxers – specialising on defensive skills, which ought to compliment the all-action tendencies of the former pound-for-pound challenger.
While Hatton is convinced his pupil has the skill-set between the ropes to succeed, he has also been impressed with Ryan’s willingness to make the move to Manchester away from friends and family.
“I always used to get unbelievable homesick when I went to Las Vegas,” he revealed.
“I used to have to go to Vegas for a couple of months on end, away from your family, friends and home comforts. For Ryan to move over here to a strange place where he didn’t know anybody just shows what a burning desire he has to reach the top.
“The fact that his head didn’t drop while struggling to get a licence will stand him in very good stead when his career does start.
“He has got the talent, he has got the ability and it appears to me that he has got the other attributes as well – the confidence and desire.”
Recently, another Belfast boy has been campaigning in Hatton’s Gym just outside Manchester. Sonny Upton may also make his debut in Liverpool and Hatton was quick to praise his latest addition and said both he and Burnett are model students.
“Sonny is over here and he has applied for his licence. It isn’t through yet but we hope to have that soon and he could be on the same show as Ryan,” he said.
“Like Ryan, he is a very talented lad. The thing is, with Ryan and Sonny, they listen to every word that you say. You might tell them something on a Monday and Tuesday but thing ‘ they will forget that’, but they don’t. They remember everything, practice everything and it is a pleasure to work with them.
“They both will have belts around their waist.”
For Hatton himself, he revealed that life is good. Since the disappointment of losing a comeback bout against Vyacheslav Senchenko back in November, he promptly hung up his gloves for good.
However, boxing is in the blood for the man who shared a ring with some of boxing’s modern greats and he said he is enjoying his time in shaping the stars of the future where he hopes to be come a world champion trainer as well as fighter.
“Everything is brilliant,” he confirmed. “I’m in the gym from Monday to Friday working with the lads. Me without boxing just won’t happen.
“The fact is that I’m still in the game, still training, and still promoting. Boxing has given me and my family such a wonderful life, so the next move is to pass that on to Ryan.”
Posted April 19th, 2013 in Features
Fantasy Fights – Macklin vs Lee
By Patrick Doherty
This column, although titled Fantasy Fights, will mostly look at fighters from the present era that fight in the same weight divisions but are unlikely to face each other in the near future, and quite possibly might never face off in a ring. The nature of the sport being what it is, means that these fights remain in the realms of fantasy and often don’t materialise, leaving fight fans with nothing to do but speculate. But, that’s also part of the fun.
Maclin vs Lee is probably the most mouth-watering all-Irish clash on the horizon, but yet, with Macklin heading for Golovkin, and Lee looking at a big money fight with one of the other four middleweight musketeers, be it Barker or Murray, the fight probably won’t happen in 2013. Nevertheless, we have every reason to hope that it will eventually get made and so is as good a place to start as any.
In terms of his career, Macklin probably boasts a more impressive record. He’s been in with higher a calibre of fighters on a more consistent basis over his career and won a close but clear victory against Felix Sturm only to become yet another victim of cynical judging in Germany. He’s also beaten a number or high quality, if not world level, British and European contenders as well as giving Sergio Martinez, a future hall of famer, a lot to think about.
Macklin has added a few extra strings to his bow of recent, and is no longer the barnstorming brawler who just ran out of steam against Jamie Moore in their thriller back in 2006. He showed against Martinez that he can fight at range, and on the back foot if necessary, despite eventually losing out to the superior man on the night. The best weapons in his arsenal are his hooks to the body and a stiff left jab. He is good at putting together punches and doesn’t do a whole lot wrong offensively. He also has knockout power and excellent finishing instincts. He probably performs best as a pressure fighter, which doesn’t bode well for the Limerick man.
If Macklin has a weakness, it could be his defence. He is at times too easy to hit and has on occasion made hard work of fighters well below his level. Although his chin will stand up to most punches, his guard tends to drop as the rounds go by and this is possibly what lost him the Martinez fight.
Andy Lee’s record is solid, if not as impressive as Macklin’s, and he has proven that he certainly belongs at world level. His two most impressive wins have come against Scotland’s Craig McEwan and Texas hard-man, Brian Vera. Although the latter has some big names on his record, neither man looks like making an impact on the world scene.
Previously coached by the legendary and recently departed Manny Steward, Lee was touted by many for world honours prior to his loss to Brian Vera. He went on to avenge that defeat but ultimately failed to wrench the WBC title off Julio Cesar Chavez.
Lee is the more stylish of the two Munster-men, a southpaw who enjoys keeping fighters at range and teeing them up for a devastating left hand. He lands accurate eye-catching punches with either hand from a variety of angles making him, at his best, a beautiful fighter to watch. He, like Macklin, possesses knockout power and has not looked out of place against middleweight elite.
His loss to Chavez was unfortunate, considering the former Champ is a natural light-heavyweight miraculously shedding the pounds to fight at middleweight. In fact, Lee was ahead on the scorecards before succumbing to the relentless pressure of the visibly bigger man with the granite chin.
Lee’s weaknesses are similar to those of Macklin. He too is a little too easy to hit. He needs to stay at range and keep moving. Lee’s two losses occurred when he got dragged into a brawl against superior brawlers. Both his losses also came when he was ahead on the scorecards. Even in his most recent bout against Anthony Fitzgerald, a criminally underrated fighter in his own right, Lee was still getting drawn into a brawl when he was clearly having more success at range, although credit has to be given to the Dubliner in that regard.
So how does this one play out?
These fighters are almost inseparable. However, I would have to lean towards Macklin purely on the basis of styles. Lee sometimes struggles with come-forward pressure fighters and this is perhaps what Macklin is best at.
Lee probably starts the fight better, taking the first three or four rounds by out-scoring Macklin at range but absorbing some hurtful shots from Macklin in the process. As the fight reaches the middle rounds, I see Lee tiring and Macklin upping the pace and slowing Lee’s movement down with his crisp body punching especially.
I think it goes the distance, with Macklin taking it on points, that’s just how I see it at the moment. Hopefully we won’t have to wait too much longer for it.
Whoever you choose, you have to take your hat off to both fighters for the courage and skill they’ve shown in equal measure over the years.
All I can say is that it would be a Munster Final to remember.
Posted April 12th, 2013 in Features
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The www.Irish-Boxing.com team are very proud to announce a new breakthrough development in the accessibility of boxing in Ireland. The site that has lead the way in promoting Irish boxing and relaying Irish boxing news to the world for over 11 years will make groundbreaking advancements in sharing all things Irish boxing with fight fans.
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Irish boxing will now follow in the footsteps of the very successful Irish sporting bodies in having its very own FREE App available on IOS (apple) devices. The creation of such an app will allow free access to news and information on Irish boxers and boxing to those in Ireland and around the world.
The exciting and entertaining new app will allow fans to learn more about their icons, and follow their progress from the comfort of their own phone. Boasting a vibrant theme with games, a quiz and a personal score card system that will allow you to play judge on any fight also opens Irish-boxing.com and hence Irish boxing to a younger audience, in turn generating new fans for the growing sport.
The app has already received huge praise and support from the top Irish boxers and the Boxing Union of Ireland. Excitement surrounding the FREE app and its capabilities is growing. BUI president Mel Christle stated “Anything that lifts the sport is to be welcomed and the app if successful will be groundbreaking for Irish boxing”
Speaking about the forthcoming launch of the App Irish-boxing.com editor Jonny Stapleton said,
“We are so grateful to Herman Apps and the great job they have done. This app is one of only a few boxing apps out there at present. It makes Irish boxing news more accessible to Irish boxing fans and boxing fans in general. It also helps us further spread news on Irish boxing to more people, which we believe can only help the sport in Ireland. We are proud of the job we do, we provideIrish boxing and Irish boxing fans a great service and do it for the love of the game and hopefully this will help us improve that service. We hope our 220,000 readers enjoy the new services and many more are exposed to what we feel is a great site.”
Former Irish Title holder and number 10 in the top ten pound for pound listings for Ireland, Anthony Fitzgerald has noted “Its a great opportunity for the boxing community at home and abroad to keep track of fights and news, it will open the audience of boxing to a younger and more diverse audience.”
The App was created and designed in conjunction with the Hermon Apps, a new and exciting app company based in the UK, who have been of great support to Irish-boxing.com.
Scorecard: A breakthrough fight scorecard system that will allow you to score any fight an instigate great debates at home and at ringside between friends and fans.
Our Quiz: A chance to increase your boxing knowledge with a boxing quiz allowing you to throw in the towel if it gets too tough.
Access to Boxing News: Links to the top boxing sites, Irish Boxing.com and Boxrec to get up to the minute news and stats on the top Irish pound for pound boxers.
Posted April 8th, 2013 in Features
ONLINE sportsbetting is now a regular fixture in sports. Statistic shows that millions of dollars are generated by sportsbetting bookmakers and its popularity is always on the trending mode. The mobile technology even spiced up the demand from sports fans. And, because mobile gadgets have liberated users from confinement, they demand more betting apps for their tablets and mobile phones.
Betting on boxing
Boxing is one of the top choices in sportsbetting. It is an exciting sport as boxers are among the most exciting sportsmen and from the fighting arena, the thrill and excitement are carried over by betting on the prize fighter. This makes boxing betting apps to be very much in demand.
Say for example, Bet365. Not only it is one of the best online gaming providers, Bet365 is a brand synonymous with honest and straightforward gaming. Their boxing app does not only give you a better advantage but also gives you a wide range of boxing fights to enjoy and to place bets on. They do not just thrill boxing fans (although it’s their primary goal), they give boxing fans a way to earn money from their love of boxing. They give wide range of wagers and are quick in giving out bonuses. Their 200 pounds free is a real knockout and a sure way to push opponents to their corners. Because it is made for the techie mobile gadgets, their graphics and interface are flashy and yet easy to use. This boxing betting app has support in several languages in order to accommodate the international boxing world.
Betting on Sports
Sports fans have found another way to cheer for their favorite sports team – they bet on it. It is one way of making their team become the favorite to win. If that happens, the excitement multiplies during the moment of truth. To get the excitement in the full swing, sportbetting bookers are fast in giving all the possibilities for fans to bet on their team.
“It’s only a game until you bet” is BetDSI’s slogan. Well, with all the money you can get plus the excitement of cheering for your team to win, BetDSI has said the best words to describe the fun of placing bets on your team. With 15 years of premier service in sportbetting, BetDSI still continues to give the best for their customers. They have the early line privilege, large wagering limits and unfailing member’s payouts. BetDSI won’t be able to maintain a five-star GPS rating if it didn’t give value to the prestige of sports betting by having the best betting platform for all sports fans and supporters, who find it convenient to place bets by using their mobile devices.
Mobile bingo apps
Just like betting apps, using mobile bingo apps is another way to make cash on mobile devices. Online bingo players, like their fellow online gamers are fascinated by flashy mobile gadgets like iPads and other tablets, and use these gadgets to conveniently enjoy their bingo games. It is not surprising to see many online bingos joining the bandwagon in offering mobile bingo for their players. With a bingo app on their mobile, they can take their game wherever they are and never miss a thing. You can find information on bingo apps on bingoonmobile.co.uk
It seems that whether your thrill of choice is betting on boxing, betting on sports or playing bingo for money, you now have a great selection of mobile apps to fuel your excitement.
Posted April 7th, 2013 in Features
Irish boxing fans across the world will sit down in two weeks time in eager anticipation of possibly the fight of the year as Tyson Fury fights in the States for the very first time.
Fury, the former Irish heavyweight, makes his US debut against wily veteran Steve Cunningham and fans in the online boxing betting world are already siding heavily with the 24-year-old heavyweight.
He is likely to take a strong, vocal following with him across the Atlantic to Madison Square Garden and although Fury doesn’t yet have the pulling power Ricky Hatton once had fights like these will only boost his fan base either side of the pond.
Yet fans in the betting world should think twice about heavily backing Fury, for although the betting odds with bet365 suggest a routine Irish victory Cunningham’s price is very tempting.
Remember, this is Fury’s first bout on US soil and New York is a lot different to Belfast’s Odyssey Arena. He’s fighting a guy who has only lost two of 22 fights in the States and is making his Madison Square comeback after seven years.
Cunningham is an experienced, confident boxer who only found his limit against Poland’s supreme Tomasz Adamek. He knows how and when to use the ring and how to stem the tide in the early rounds, meaning Fury mustn’t exhaust all his excitable energy in search of a showtime knockout.
No, Fury must be smart if he is to win this bout and at 1.14 with Bet365 looks set to do so. However, a price of 5.50 for Cunningham to take the victory cannot be ignored, for this former Cruiserweight world champion is ready to get back in favour with the American public.
Posted April 6th, 2013 in Features
HOW DO YOU TRY TO REPLACE THE BUZZ OF FIGHTING WHEN 10,000 FANS ARE SCREAMING? YOU JUST CAN’T
*This article first appeared in the Irish Daily Mail (Saturday, March 16); read Ciarán Gallagher’s Mail Box column every Friday in the Irish Daily Mail and follow on Twitter @gallagherbox
SOMETIMES the simple things in life reveal the most and Bernard Dunne’s reaction to a biscuit accompanying his tea provides a neat insight into the comfortable place he is in these days.
‘Spoiling us,’ jokes the former world champion as he spots a complimentary cookie on his saucer, followed by a quick ‘go raibh maith agat’ to the waitress in the cafe bar of Liffey Valley’s Clarion Hotel.
Strict dieting to make his 122lb boxing weight is no longer a priority and Dunne can enjoy the odd treat, while the proud Dubliner peppers his everyday conversation with a cúpla focal.
Having an enjoyable life and concentrating on his personal interests are what now drive the Neilstown native.
It is nearly four years to the day since his crowning achievement, when he claimed the WBA super-bantamweight title with a nation-rousing knockout of Panamanian Ricardo Cordoba, but it certainly doesn’t feel like it.
‘It really doesn’t,’ admits Dunne. ‘I suppose the first year I retired was probably the longest year because I literally did nothing and it was a tough year trying to readjust and get used to not actually being inside the ring.’
March 21, 2009 was the highlight of being inside that squared circle. Most sports fans will recall the buzz around Ireland on the day; Declan Kidney’s rugby side had sealed a first Grand Slam in 61 years in dramatic fashion and there was electricity in the air.
Any of the 9,037 in the O2 Arena — or the 600,000 watching at home — may even feel the goose bumps reappearing when they recall Dunne’s silhouette shadow boxing to a live choir’s version of Carl Orff’s O Fortuna before leading into his Irish Rover entrance. The pre-fight build-up was slightly lost on the then 29-year-old, however.
‘I couldn’t leave the hotel that day, that’s how you know that there’s something special going on… but, again, I think it was more of a hopeful atmosphere than anything else — people were coming to see a world-title fight, I don’t know if they were coming to see a world-title victory.’
The first sign of magic came in the third round when the home underdog landed what resembled a homing missile of a left hook to floor the champion.
‘I think that was the best punch I’ve ever thrown and when I hit him… as soon as I hit him, I thought “that’s it, you’re world champion”. Next of all he sat up and stood up and I was like…’
The profanity that followed has been left out but it was one uttered by many fans during the fifth round when the Irish challenger was twice put on the canvas.
One more knockdown would have seen the fight stopped — a fate eventually suffered by Cordoba in the dramatic 11th round — but Dunne would prefer to be remembered for climbing off the floor.
‘As much as the 11th round is the glory moment, I think the fifth round is what kind of defines who I am. I would never claim to be the greatest fighter but on my day I could get in with anybody.
‘It’s one thing having a talent, but if you add hard work to that you can be confident going into the ring because you’ve done all you can do.
‘Kiko [Martinez] beat me because he executed his plan. Poonsawat [Kratingdaenggym] beat me because he was better and he executed his plan. I never made excuses for defeats, but I always made sure going into a fight I was ready.’
He also knew he was ready to call it a day just one year later following that defeat to Thai tank Poonsawat.
Ironically, Dunne has previously cited Ronan O’Gara as a sportsman he could relate to when discussing the Grand Slam/world-title day of days. Unlike O’Gara, Dunne ensured only he would say when his time at the top would end.
‘I called it at the right time, it was the right time for me, there was no doubts. The first year was tough and thoughts go through your head and you have conversations with one or two people about “have I done the right thing?” You see fights, guys winning titles and you say “you know what? I’d beat him”. That’s why I stayed away from the gym — I didn’t go into a gym for two years.’ He now trains casually, but cold turkey was originally the only option.
A revival route through the US was put forward by manager Brian Peters, but Dunne maintains there are no regrets about not pursuing big Las Vegas or New York fight nights.
‘Not really, to be honest. I don’t think you can beat fighting in front of your own fans in Dublin city, winning a world title — and losing a word title.
‘The fact that I got to do it with my own people, that meant so much more to me than anything else. You put 10,000 people in the O2 or the old Point, and put 10,000 people in Madison Square Garden, I’d rather do it in Dublin.’
It is only through one of his new roles that Dunne actually got to experience an atmosphere similar to the one he inspired while working for Sky TV as a pundit during Carl Frampton’s recent win over Martinez in Belfast.
While Frampton has created a buzz in the North, the atmosphere at Dunne’s fights was unique for Irish boxing in the Republic.
The 33-year-old documented many of his professional differences with Peters in his 2010 autobiography, but admits that together they produced a winning formula which has been absent in the pro game down south in recent years.
‘Brian did his thing and I did my thing and we did them completely separately, I wouldn’t have said we’d have worked together too much. Brian could run a show and I could put on a show and they went really well [together]… Brian was able to run a show that excited people and I was able to put on a show in the ring.’
Observing today’s talent, Dunne believes ‘there’s just not that figure now that excites people now’ but touts Frampton as the leading contender.
‘He hasn’t brought the whole of Ireland together just yet. He has great potential, no doubt about it. But boxing’s in a stronger position amateur-wise than it’s ever been.
‘Professionally, we’re just missing that little ingredient right now to excite the people again and bring in, not boxing fans but general fans. I think that’s kind of what I got.Okay, I had the core boxing fans there but I also had people who had never been to a boxing fight before.’
Dunne has often tipped fellow Dubliner Philip Sutcliffe Jr (who recently turned pro) as a star in the making, but while he maintains the 23-year-old ‘has all the ingredients to excite people’, he worries that the barren Irish pro scene could mean a move abroad is the route to success.
Having started his own pro career in LA’s Wildcard Gym, he praises featherweight Patrick Hyland for making his move Stateside.
Never mind Irish competition, however. Dunne claims that even the leading international talents wouldn’t tempt him into a comeback. He has home priorities.
In addition to his family interests and consistent efforts to improve his native tongue, much attention has been paid to his work with Dublin’s Gaelic footballers — a topic he has been notoriously silent on. ‘My official title is I’m performance and lifestyle coach and I’ll do whatever it takes to really help them,’ he attempts to explain.
‘Is that as vague as possible?’
Laughter follows his efforts to shed light on his secretive role, but Dunne adds: ‘The fact that I’m involved with the Dubs is another dream come true.
‘I feel lucky — the Irish language, GAA, boxing, they’re all things I enjoy that I’m involved with on a daily basis. I’m either very lucky or I pick the right things!’
The next ‘right thing’ is a charity initiative which will see Dunne head on an American adventure to raise money in aid of Irish Dogs for the Disabled.
‘I’m going to drive across America from Chicago from New Orleans. I’ve got a motorbike, I just don’t know how to drive it yet,’ he explains. ‘Again it’s just another challenge, it’s for a good cause but the challenge of learning how to drive a bike interests me.’
While he no longer runs the hard roads in pursuit of personal glory, there are no stop signs for Dunne just yet. ‘It’s not about replacing it,’ he says of the buzz of boxing.
‘It’s about finding something else that I enjoy doing. You’ll never replace it — how can you ever get that buzz of fighting one on one against somebody in front of over 10,000 people screaming? Even fighting in front of one person —that’s a buzz, stepping inside a ring.’
For now, the DVD of Cordoba-Dunne remains on the shelf, despite the upcoming anniversary — the winner of the bout only recalls watching it in full once. Unless his young kids, Caoimhe, six, and Cillian, five, take an interest, it will gather dust for a while yet.
‘When they get interested maybe I’ll start to appreciate it more. For me it was just about performing, I knew if I performed against anybody, I’d do the business — simple.’
*See deltahorizontour.com for details on the Irish Dogs for the Disabled charity trip.